Help Available for Parents of Teens
August 12, 2004
Families in West and East Contra Costa County have an unusual opportunity to learn strategies for positive communication at free parenting and youth groups modeled after successful national programs.
Bay Area Community Resources and the Center for Human Development are presenting Creating Lasting Family Connections to improve communications between parents and their children. The weekly sessions are held in Rodeo for West County families and in Bay Point for East County residents. The sessions are two hours each and include free dinner and childcare. Funding is provided by Contra Costa Health Services through the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities federal grant award. Spanish-speaking sessions are available.
"Parents in these communities have asked for parenting groups to help them make their children's teen-age years a positive experience for everyone. We know how challenging it is to raise teens and these groups are designed to give parents practical solutions to problems everyone faces," says Erika Rubinstein, Prevention Specialist for Bay Area Community Resources.
They are especially designed for at-risk parents and youth ages 11-15. Riverview Middle School in Bay Point and Carquinez Middle School in Rodeo are offering after-school groups to students as part of the program.
"We hope that parents who are struggling to create a happy home environment and talk to their children will come to these groups - with or without their children," says Anita Marquez-Bruchay, Program Director at the Center for Human Development. She stresses that the program is also great for blended families and grandparents raising their grandchildren.
Fatima Matal Sol, the County's Safe and Drug-Free Schools grant coordinator, says that in other parts of the country where Creating Lasting Family Connections is being used, parents were able to develop clear and realistic expectations, effective family management strategies, and useful information for their children about the dangers of drug and alcohol.
Participants agree on the value. "I expected the class to be boring, but it was fun. I learned how to get my parents to listen to me and to talk to them without fighting," says a former teen participant. A parent in the Bayo Vista area commented, "This has been a very helpful experience for me, to realize that other families are going through similar parenting struggles."
"We hope people will take advantage of this free service," says Matal Sol.
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